What CEOs Can Learn From the Goddess of Vision

by  Lisa Petrilli  |  Leadership Development

I recently attended a conference at which a number of CEOs and marketing executives were present.  One morning when at a breakfast table with seven others the discussion turned, as it often does, to how we could be of help to each other.

One CEO in the group asked the marketers present for some creative ideas on using social media to grow his new, non-profit business.  The perfunctory questions about the business and his goals were asked and answered, and then the conversation quickly turned to the use of various social media tools.  Now, to the credit of the marketers at the table, the ideas were quite creative, but I found myself a bit dumbfounded by the answers the CEO had given.

Why? He had not clearly articulated a vision for his business.

What happens when marketing executives start talking about tactics of growing a business without first having a clear vision of the direction of the business?  You reach goals, but they don’t necessarily get you where you want to go!

Case in point: I stopped the conversation and asked the marketers what they believed the CEOs vision to be.  The overwhelming consensus was that his vision was to drive awareness of the problem that his non-profit was set up to address.  I turned to the CEO and asked him, “if everyone in the country becomes aware of the problem your non-profit is addressing, will you have successfully brought your vision to life?” His answer, (of course), was “no.”

He didn’t want to just make people aware; he wanted to fix the problem. Once he realized that, he also realized that he hadn’t created a vision in his mind, or in his heart, of what life (and the country) would look like when the problem was fixed – and thus, he didn’t really know just yet how to get there.

To be successful, he had to start with the vision literally in his mind, and then work backward from there.

Isis is the Goddess of Vision and Insight.  Yes, she is associated with femininity and guess what gentlemen, every single human has a combination of male and female energy – just in differing amounts.  I’ve noticed over the course of my career that many leaders – both men and women – are afraid to “trust their gut” or their intuition.

If the CEO had been honest with himself up front he would have admitted that as he was talking about his business he was talking in rigidly straight lines.  He was presenting a structured case that had no colorful vision – no inspiring dream – to it.

Once he started thinking about how truly beautiful life would look when his vision came to fruition – how it would taste and feel to him – he was able to much more clearly articulate with passion where he wanted to go.  From there, the goals, strategies and tactics fell much more easily into place.

Moral of the story, don’t be afraid to tap into your intuition, your feelings and your dreams as you talk about your business and the vision you have for it. As a woman who myself avoided doing so for many years, I am now tapping into the power and wisdom of my own personal ”inner goddess” like I never have before.

How about you? Can you clearly articulate a vision for your business? If not, anything Isis can do to be of help?

I would be honored if you would share your insights in the comments…

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What People Are Saying

Ric Dragon  |  16 Apr 2011  |  Reply

Well stated, Lisa. Early on, in my own entrepreneurial adventures, I had the privilege of working with an excellent organizational development coach. I was exposed to those basics of org dev, vision, mission, and values. All of the great books on modern business thinking point to it as well, Vision is the lynchpin, the locus, – the source of meaningful business. If anything, the challeng is to be able to help solve organizational sticking points, but always returning to the vision. Bill Clinton’s campaign famously posted a statement over their campaign door (on the inside)- “it’s the economy, stupid”. In other words, stay on track. When you take to your vision the way an Airedale takes to a rat, you’ve got some real power.

Lisa Petrilli  |  17 Apr 2011  |  Reply

Thank you, Ric – and how wonderful to hear that you had a very clear understanding of the critical nature of vision so early on in your adventures. I’m sure it’s driving great success for you and keeping you on your path. I don’t know what an Airedale is – but I’ll trust you on that last sentence! :)

Honored that you stopped by and appreciate you taking time to comment!

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